Reader Nicholas documents the amazing neglect of Sydney’s water supplies. Remember this the next time drought strikes and dams drain:
Just a few quick points on the water storage history of Sydney.
Ignoring the smoke and mirror approach of increases associated with accessing deep water supplies in the dams, between 1888 when the Prospect Dam was built and 1960 when the Warragamba dam was completed, Sydney’s drinking water storage increased from minimal to approximately 2,504,000 ML. This was achieved in 72 years. The dams completed in this time and their approximate respective capacities are as follows:
1888 – Prospect Dam – 33,000ML
1907-1935 – Cataract Dam – 97,000ML
1907-1935 – Cordeaux Dam – 93,000ML
1907-1935 – Avon Dam – 146,000ML
1907-1935 – Nepean Dam – 67,000ML
1941 – Woronora Dam – 71,000ML
1942 – Blue Mountains Dam – 3,000ML
1948-1960 – Warragamba Dam – 2,027,000ML.
The population of Sydney in 1890 was approximately 450,000, by 1960 this was approximately 2.1 million.
In 1968 advice was provided that unless this capacity of the dams was not increased by 1975, then Sydney was vulnerable to running out of water during a prolonged drought as a result of population growth and lack of storage capacity.
So how have we responded – In the 52 years between 1960 and 2012 Sydney’s drinking water storage has increased by only an additional 124,000 ML. Less than 5% increase in capacity, yet the population of Sydney relying on the water from these dams has increased in 2012 to approximately 4.5 million. A doubling of the population since 1960.
This “modest” increase in capacity has been as follows:
1976 – Tallowa Dam – 90,000ML of which only 7500ML is able to be transferred for Sydney
1977 – Fitzroy Falls – 10,000ML
1977 – Wingecaribee – 24,000ML
So in 1968 the advice was that Sydney’s water future was vulnerable to a drought yet almost nothing has been done, yet our population has doubled since 1960.
It is not climate change that is the risk to our water future, it is government incompetence. Note that no new dam has been built in Sydney in 35 years
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.